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Landscape Design

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Nature Play at Home – Arranging Spaces

by Nancy Striniste

Spaces speak, especially to children. Just as the soaring ceiling of a cathedral inspires a sense of awe or a candlelit restaurant prompts us to lower our voices, the formality, informality, size, or openness of a space can tell us how to behave. As we create spaces for nature play, it is our responsibility to be mindful and intentional about the messages the space will transmit to children.

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Personal Reflections on Five Years of Discovery: The New Academic Center at St. George’s School

by Lori Silvia

Developed and tended as a labor of love over five years, the landscape surrounding the Academic Center at Rhode Island’s St. George’s School provided the author with new lessons day after day. From the early years as the landscape’s parent, overseeing every aspect of the of evolving landscape, the author’s role has shifted to partner as nature has taken the lead.

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An Urban Oasis Designed with Community in Mind

by Jennifer Kimball

At the end of a block of brick row houses in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston sit four abandoned lots overgrown with shoulder high weeds. Six raised garden beds speak to the desire of area residents to reclaim this space and to build a community garden in their neighborhood. Those lots are now poised to become a new public green space that will provide residents of all ages a place to gather, attend public performances, enjoy nature, and grow their own food.

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Eco-Answers from the Pros: Designing Complementary Sun and Shade Gardens 

Eco-Answers from the Pros: Designing Complementary Sun and Shade Gardens

I can’t figure out how to have a shade bed complement the sun bed directly across from it – it’s not that things have to be matchy-matchy, but the brickwork makes them a symmetrical pair of beds. I am having trouble finding shade plants that I can combine into an ecological design, except low groundcovers and short woodland plants, and I am having a hard time visualizing what would work right across the bed of climbing roses, lambs ears, baptisa, gaura, japanese anemones, euphorbia, and salvia. ANY suggestions would be so, so appreciated. I am completely stumped!

 

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Ten Elements of Natural Design

by Larry Weaner

The elements that make a landscape design “natural” are difficult to define. A landscape with curved bed lines, informal plant arrangements, and no pyramidal yews does not always qualify as a natural landscape. And advocates of natural design are not necessarily eager to banish a host of beautiful exotics from the plant palettes of American landscape designers, replacing the plants with a motely crew of straggly natives. The basic concept behind natural design, however, is fairly simple – to incorporate native plant communities into the designed landscape. But their successful incorporation requires a basic understanding of how native plants operate in nature.

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Native Hedges and Hedgerows: Beauty and Biodiversity

by Heather McCargo

A native hedge introduces beauty and vitality into the landscape. While a fence may be a great solution in a tight space, shrubs can create a “living fence” for enclosure, privacy, and beauty. Additionally, shrubs add three-dimensional diversity to a landscape and provide important year-round habitat for fauna such as birds, pollinating insects, and other small creatures.

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Featuring Native Plants in Your Landscape

ELA’s Native Plant Tours are an enjoyable way to see native plants in all kinds of landscapes – urban to rural. Hosts generously share their gardens for a few hours, but they also share invaluable lessons they’ve learned about incorporating natives into their landscapes. Two former hosts share how they became interested in native plants and their insights into use of native plants in home landscapes.

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Pioneering Higher Ground: Green Roof Lessons for Planting Design

by Laura Hansplant

While a green roof planted with a carpet of sedum will manage stormwater efficiently, a design that incorporates more sophisticated habitat structure and diverse native species will increase habitat value and overall resilience. Observations from successful plantings in extreme conditions also translate into lessons for resilience for on-ground landscapes.

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